Stakeholder Management Plan Template PPT Free Download

Project management is a balancing act – and one that’s commonly misunderstood. In fact, nearly 50 percent of organizations express a poor understanding of project management, its various factors, and how those elements affect success. 


Stakeholder Management Plan
Stakeholder Management Plan
Stakeholders, for instance, are key to the success or failure of any project. As project managers, we have a responsibility to oversee and influence relationships with key project stakeholders to increase the chances of a successful project outcome.

What is Project Stakeholder Management? 

If we are to manage relationships with stakeholders effectively, we must first start by identifying who stakeholders are and their potential capacity to affect the project, either positively or negatively. Stakeholders can include:
  • An individual or group affected by project outcomes (customers, shareholders, investors, or owners).
  • An individual or group which can affect a project’s outcomes (regulatory bodies).

  • An individual or group invested in blocking positive outcomes (competitors).
  • An individual or group involved in the project’s development (employees or suppliers).
It isn’t enough to simply develop an awareness of who the key stakeholders are and what their potential impact may be. To support the overall success of your project, it’s essential to regulate, influence, and harness these relationships, which is the primary goal of project stakeholder management.

Developing a Stakeholder Management Plan

Managing stakeholder relationships, therefore, can only benefit from a formal stakeholder management plan. Establishing such a plan, in fact, can increase the likelihood of staying on-budget and on-schedule by seven percent. At the very least, a stakeholder management plan should include the following sections:

Stakeholder identification and mapping

  • This section first identifies stakeholders. Research suggests that the most important stakeholders overall are clients, end users, and suppliers, but this may vary by project. 
  • Next, it accurately and specifically defines the weight and impact of relationships with those stakeholders
  • This is important for a couple of reasons. First, it helps a project manager identify how interested each stakeholder is in the project (positively or negatively), and second, their capacity to affect the project (again, positively or negatively). Neutral stakeholders matter, too, especially if they have a high level of potential to influence the project. 
Stakeholder Impact Assessment
Stakeholder Impact Assessment

Conduct Risk Management Analyses

Like all aspects of project management, stakeholders must be considered as variables that carry and involve risk. Stakeholder mapping should provide answers to questions including:
  • “What are this stakeholder’s needs?”
  • “How important is this stakeholder to the project?”
  • “What would happen if this stakeholder pulled out, and what would make that happen?”
Let’s take an example. A project manager sees that an upcoming deadline is approaching a little too quickly.

They can either (1) miss the deadline and stay on-budget, or (2) meet the deadline by slightly overspending. While thorough, adequate planning should minimize the risk of this scenario occurring, business unfortunately never transpires in a vacuum, and unexpected events make this kind of scenario more common than we’d like.

Back to the example above: the project manager needs to make a decision, so they look to their stakeholder risk analysis. They know that “Stakeholder A” has a major influence on the success of the project, and they are highly concerned with meeting the deadline. “Stakeholder B” has a minor influence and is more concerned with staying on-budget.

Thanks to the project manager’s analysis of the questions above, they know that their best chances of success are to meet the deadline.

Create a Communications Plan – Then Maintain It

After identifying, analyzing, and prioritizing stakeholders, it’s time to establish communication plans. These plans will be different for each and every stakeholder. Obviously, that’s a lot of time investment, which means that it’s important to rely on prioritization for this stage to maximize the effect of time invested.

Communication Plan Template
Communication Plan Template
Stakeholders rely on communication to continue their investment and to support a project’s goals. Think carefully about what kinds of information each stakeholder needs. Are they interested in specific key performance indicators (KPIs)? Particular developmental landmarks? Not only is the information delivered to each stakeholder important, but also the delivery method.

Choosing a method of communication – whether it’s one-on-one meetings, phone calls, teleconferences, or newsletters – affects the stakeholder’s reception of that information, and ultimately their investment.

Establishing good, ongoing stakeholder relationships will help maintain the effects of all the hard work already completed. Maintaining the communication plan means understanding how often communication should happen, who should be actually engaging the stakeholder, and the appropriate method of engagement.

Tips for Effective Stakeholder Management

  • Every stakeholder management plan is different, but some tips are functionally universal for improving the quality of that plan for project managers. Avoid common stakeholder pitfalls with tips including: 
  • Define expectations (i.e. financial investments, timelines) for stakeholders early – and stick to them.
  • Keep a close eye on the future. Part of mitigating risk is informing stakeholders of bumps in the road long before you hit them. 

  • Stakeholders are humans. Respect their time, feelings, unexpected life events, and outside commitments. 
  • Listen to stakeholder input – this establishes trust and investment over time. 
  • Engage high-priority stakeholders at their preferred level, whether this means communicating in a coffee shop or a formal meeting.  
Effective project stakeholder management is a cornerstone of project success. Balancing stakeholder needs and impact can be arguably as important as establishing an effective business model. Identifying stakeholders, establishing an effective communication plan, and maintaining that plan can help maintain growth and promote new stakeholders to invest in the future of a project.

Swapnil Wale

Written by

Swapnil Wale is an IT Professional based in Sydney, Australia with over 10 years of experience in technology and project management. He is a passionate blogger and focuses on project management and BRMS articles.

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